Statistics briefing: child deaths due to abuse or neglect

Publication date 2021

How many children die due to abuse or neglect?

This briefing looks at what data and statistics are available about child deaths due to abuse or neglect.

Official measures are likely to be underestimations of the number of children who die due to abuse or neglect for a number of reasons, including:

  • the legal complexity of proof of homicide
  • misdiagnosed cause of death
  • abuse not being the immediate cause of death, but being a contributing factor
  • cause of death remaining unknown or unexplained.

However, based on the number of child homicides recorded by the police each year, we know that, on average, at least one child is killed a week in the UK.

Published: December 2021

Download Statistics briefing: child deaths due to abuse or neglect (PDF)
Download the briefing (PDF)

Findings from the data

  • In the last five years there was an average of 58 child deaths by assault or undetermined intent a year in the UK.
  • Children under the age of one are the most likely age group to be killed by another person, followed by 16- to 24-year-olds.
  • Child homicides are most commonly caused by the child’s parent or step-parent.

Further reading

> Search the NSPCC Library using the keywords statistics or child abuse prevalence or child abuse incidence

Download Statistics briefing: child deaths due to abuse or neglect (PDF)
Download the briefing (PDF)

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